Adam Arenson is a historian of nineteenth-century North America, investigating the
cultural and political history of slavery, Civil War, and Reconstruction and tracing the
development of American cities. His work focuses on the American West and its borderlands
– from California to the Yukon Territory, from St. Louis to El Paso – and places the
experience of European settlement in the region into comparative perspective. 

Arenson's work on American cities reconstructs how residents made sense of their
surroundings by supplementing the written record with material-culture findings and
geographic information system (GIS) analysis. 

See further information on current research projects and classes taught at 



Back to the Battlefield: A Cultural Historian’s View of Civil War Memorials at Appomattox, Fredericksburg, and Island Mound, Common-place (2014)

What do battlefield commemorations tell us--about the Civil War, the commemorators, and ourselves? A consideration...



This is Not How My Book Starts: Looking Back at Writing and Framing, Rethinking History (2013)

Adam Arenson shares his first enthusiastic draft opening and his plan to shape a history...



Experience Rather than Imagination: Researching the Return Migration of African North Americans during the American Civil War and Reconstruction, Journal of American Ethnic History (2013)

Announcing the contours of research on the return migration of people of African descent from...



George Engelmann’s Barometer: Measuring Civil War America from St. Louis, Journal of the West (2012)

In the Civil War Era, German-American botanist George Engelmann regularly measured St. Louis's pressure and...



The Double Life of St. Louis: Narratives of Origins and Maturity in Wade’s Urban Frontier, Indiana Magazine of History (2009)

A half-century after Richard C. Wade's landmark history The Urban Frontier: The Rise of Western...




Frontier Cities: Recovering Encounters at the North American Crossroads of Empire (with Barbara Berglund and Jay Gitlin) (2012)

The twelve essays in this edited volume argue for the intersections of colonial and frontier...



The Great Heart of the Republic: St. Louis and the Cultural Civil War (2011)

The Civil War revealed what united as well as what divided Americans in the nineteenth...


Contributions to Books


Dred Scott vs. the Dred Scott Case: History and Memory of a Signal Moment in American Slavery, 1857-2007, The Dred Scott Case: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives on Race and Law (2010)

The Dred Scott Case centered on the Scott family—Dred and Harriet, and their daughters Eliza...



Libraries in Public before the Age of Public Libraries: Interpreting the Furnishings and Design of Athenaeums and Other ‘Social Libraries,’ 1800-1860, The Library as Place: History, Community and Culture (2007)

Before public libraries became common in the United States, both elite and striving men sought...


Newspaper and Magazine Articles and Blogs


Summer is the Season to Fix Immigration, History News Network (2013)

The summer 2013 immigration debate threatened to help some and hurt others; it is always...



Happy Birthday Millard Sheets: Top Ten Public Art Projects to See in Person, KCET Departures Writing on the Wall (2013)

A look at Millard Sheets's most important work, around the country.



Millard Sheets Mosaic Back in Beverly Hills, KCET Departures - Writing on the Wall blog by Ed Fuentes (2013)

A guest post about the re-installation of the Sheets Studio mosaic, formerly along the Camino...



New York Times Disunion series, New York Times (2013)

A link to my contributions to the New York Times' Disunion blog.



The Future of Newspapers? Watch the Nineteenth Century, History News Network (2012)

Rather than bemoaning how print journalism has fallen off from the twentieth century, we should...


Recorded Presentations and Interviews


Interview - Millard Sheets Studio exhibit, Creative Orange County by GYST Radio (2012)

A 30-minute interview about the Millard Sheets Studio museum exhibit by Wendy Sherman and Concepcion...



Civil War Talk Radio interview, Civil War Talk Radio, Gerry Prokopowicz (2012)

Interview on the Civil War Talk Radio show. Gerry Prokopowicz said "Now that the [Civil...



Civil War Book Review interview, Civil War Book Review, Louisiana State University Libraries Special Collections (2012)

A feature interview in Civil War Book Review. Audio and transcript available.



Facing Out from the Academy: How to Expand Your Writing & Engage a Broader Public, Meggin McIntosh, Emphasis on Excellence (2011)

This teleseminar discusses how (and why) to communicate your work beyond the university, including the...


Book Reviews

Review of Missouri’s War: The Civil War in Documents, ed. Silvana R. Siddali. Missouri Historical Review 105.2 (January 2011), 117-118. (2011)

A review of Missouri’s War: The Civil War in Documents, ed. Silvana R. Siddali, a...



Review of Empire’s Edge: American Society in Nome, Alaska 1898-1934 by Preston Jones Pacific Historical Review 77.2 (May 2008), 330-332. (2008)

A review of Empire’s Edge: American Society in Nome, Alaska 1898-1934, an extremely valuable portrait...